Emma,

“Hi, baby”
I’m a decade too early,

I know.

But I must write this out clearly,

Daughter, I only want you to know love.

That is why I fear me as your mother.

As much as I crave your existence some day,

I’d rather you be raised by my sister.

She’s got her head on straight while I…

I am not responsible, let alone reliable.

I am selfish and not proud.

I have fallen at the hands of many,

and your joy, your light

the gift you are to this world must be nurtured.

I understand,

you are more beautiful than words,

but how can I raise a child and give up myself?

When will I be ready to put your needs before my own?
How does one know?
When is the moment I must become a mother?

I want to be there for each lesson you learn,

Your first step,

Your first word.

Your first bike ride,

the first tooth you lose.

I wanna be there to kiss away your wounds.

Baby girl,

I want to take away your hurt.

I am scared to raise someone that aspires to be like their mother,

when I want you to be anything but me.

I want you to live carefree and love easily,

I want you to stand strong and face each day smiling,

radiating positivity.

Honey,

I want to see the blush on your cheeks from your first kiss,

I want it to be perfect.

I wanna hear your laughter off the wind,

I wanna watch you twirl in a field of wild flowers.

I don’t care if you have my eyes,

I don’t care if you have my curls,

You will always be

my darling girl.

Beautiful,

I never want you to know pain,

I never want to comfort you in the middle of the night,

when you wake up in a sweat, screaming his name.

I never want your heart to break,

I never want each breath you take,

to cause any sort of ache

in such young lungs.

Breathe easy, baby.

I hope you love your daddy,

I hope he holds tight to your small hand.

Lifting you on his shoulders,

I hope you never forget the moments where he’ll make you feel invincible.

I hope you believe nothing is impossible.

Princess,

your father adores you.

Carrying you from

one to

three to

five.

Pushing your stroller,

and then your bike.

Letting go and as I put my hands to my mouth,

to mute choked tears and elated gasps.

As you ride off into the beginning of your sunset.

The world is full of wonderful things,

better yet,

so are you.

Sweetie,

you have so much potential.

The joy of creating,

lift your wings and fly.

if your dreams can’t reach the sky,

they aren’t big enough.

Camcorder smiles will be replayed,

rewound birthday smiles and forgotten wishes

as five then

ten then

sixteen candles are blown out,

but you haven’t changed a day.

I fear the day you grow up.

I fear the day I have to let you go,

off into the world,

off into the unknown.

I fear the day I won’t be able to take away your hurt.

I am sorry I am so selfish.

For you, I’m trying to be selfless.

To give up ever wanting a life,

before you.

But in time,

I know I will prepare your room.

19 years old and wondering about your smile,

your eyes,

imagining your laughter in vacant spaces,

swollen belly,

waddling anxious.

I hear your father’s voice down the hall,

as I drag my hands over the wall,

endless traces,

patterns

and lyrics

I want to breathe into the walls and sing you to sleep

when you cry at the sound of my voice.

The breeze blowing through the window,

whipping lace drapes

above your window seat.

Baby,

promise me you’ll read.

Your nursery is taking the place of my once-imagined library.

But I know, you will be greater than any story

I’ve read,

I’ve written,

or imagined.

You will be the gorgeous princess

from the fairy tale.

The one who wields swords and leaves dragons slayed.

The one who fears not the monsters under the bed,

but the boys in reflective suits of metal.

They are not all bad.

They are not loyal.

Your father wraps his arms around my expanding waist,

and I laugh,

my eyes meeting your mobile.

I hope I treat you well.

It is you I want to adore,

it is you I will one day long for.

Your father knows he will one day lead you out of our lives in a dress of white,

it is only fitting that I should bring you into this world in a ray of light.

For you are shining,

our sparkling reflection,

everlasting perfection.

Emma,

I will love you forever,

but I doubt I will ever be ready.

For that you must forgive me.

So look to your father’s eyes for security,

and if I am lucky,

let me feel your tiny fingers wrapped around my thumb.

Let me see  the undeserving grace in your eyes

and the smile with gaps that once contained teeth.

Let me lead you,

let me guide you,

never harm you.

I can only pray that you will trust me.

Oh Emma,

I’ve always loved your name.

Let me not fail you as a mother,

for that would be a crying shame.

“Bye, baby”

My sister is pulling me out of your nursery,

claiming you need your sleep.

“You did good, Mom”

she tells me,

as I rest my head on her shoulder

walking toward the living room

where your father sits in front of the fire.

“You both did”

She murmurs before she leaves.

And as I curl myself up under the arm of the man who

will love you more than life itself,

I only hope he’ll one day whisper:
“We did good, love,

because through her,

we made beauty.”

And though the thought of you scares me,

though I will never be ready,

I have no doubt in my mind

you will be my pride

and my joy.

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